Manchester is intrinsically linked with Italian culture, and you just have to look at Ancoats’ Little Italy to see why. Back in the early 1900s, Italian immigrants settled in the area, pioneering ice cream and introducing the city to Neapolitan pizza, all while surviving the inescapable turmoil of the Second World War.
We can’t thank them enough for their influence, as the subsequent boom in Italian eateries has been huge – birthing institutions like Isola Bella and Bella Napoli. Manchester’s Italian restaurants are as varied as the food-loving country itself. You can find rustic dishes inspired by the trattorias of the south at places like Sugo Pasta Kitchen or experience a twist on tradition at spots like Lucky Mama’s. These are our picks that round up Manchester’s best Italian restaurants.
Sugo Pasta Kitchen
We start off the list with a Manchester-based pasta institution. Sugo burst onto the Southern Italian-inspired scene a few years back when it opened its first base in Altrincham, and since then the carb-filled eatery has branched out to Ancoats and most recently Sale, too. The restaurant draws inspiration from its deep-rooted Southern Italian heritage and modern cooking skills, which create outstanding dishes such as the House Sugo, featuring orecchiette with an 8 hour beef shin, pork shoulder and nduja ragu.
Sugo Pasta Kitchen,
46 Blossom St, Ancoats, Manchester M4 6BF
22 Shaw’s Rd, Altrincham WA14 1QU
7-8 Stanley Square, Sale M33 7XZ
Tucked away in the back streets of the Northern Quarter, you’ll find Manchester’s tiniest Italian restaurant, Sicilian NQ. What it lacks for in space, it truly makes up for in taste, as this restaurant packs a punch with its authentic Italian dishes, enough to make you feel as though you’ll walk out onto the sunshine sidewalks of the Italian region’s streets. Sicilian NQ is a great place to try out if you’re following a plant-based diet, as it has also just introduced an all vegan menu featuring dishes such as Portobello Tagliatelle, Spicy Vegan Girasole and a Vegan Oreo Gelato!
Sicilian NQ, 14 Turner St, Manchester M4 1DZ
San Carlo has delighted the people of Manchester since 2004 and is also prone to having the odd celebrity fine diner make an appearance.The restaurant cements its cooking methods on authentic modern Italy, providing a traditional dining experience for guests, alongside incredible dishes in an upscale, contemporary setting. One of the eatery’s most popular plates is the Tagliolini Lobster, made famous with lobster, brandy, tomato, peas and a touch of cream.
San Carlo, 42 King St W, Manchester M3 2WY
This Salford-based Italian restaurant has made quite the name for itself in the time it has resided on Chapel Street. Owned by much-loved front of house aficionado, Beppe, Vero Moderno offers a different approach to Italian cuisine that never strays too far from its roots. The restaurant has been described as ‘one of the top Italian restaurants in the UK’ by the Sunday Times, and it’s not hard to see why, especially if you’ve ever had the pleasure of tucking into Taglierini del Pescatore that comes with fresh long egg pasta with mussel meatballs, cod, baby squid and Italian Datterino tomato. It’s also a hit with Manchester’s footie squads, too, with a whole host of them popping in to show their love for Beppe and the team!
Vero Moderno, Unit 4 Vimto Gardens, Chapel St, Salford M3
A Tavola Gastronomia Siciliana
Once a staple of Reddish, A Tavola now resides in New Mills (which is just past Marple) and they’re making a name for themselves there now, too. Our food writer Tim visited when they’d just moved and was blown away with their Sicilian street food menu, and they’re still offering up an impressive range of dishes in their new home. This is a proper neighbourhood Italian restaurant experience – you’re going to get only the freshest, highest quality ingredients – creating simple, home-cooked authentic dishes that will blow you away.
A Tavola Gastronomia Siciliana, Albion Rd, New Mills, High Peak SK22 3EY
One of Chorlton’s newest residents, Lucky Mama’s is a must visit if you’re into lashings of homemade pizza and pasta, but with a twist. Inspired by owners Mamadou and Gaby’s shared Senegalese, Spanish, Chilean and Italian roots, the fresh pasta dishes and square Roma pizzas are certainly different than any other dishes that you’ll find elsewhere on this list. The restaurant began its journey from a trailer in a small Eccles back garden and has now grown into a well-loved institution that also made a recent appearance on BBC’s ‘Britain’s Top Takeaways’.
Lucky Mama’s, 565 Barlow Moor Rd, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester M21 8AE
Campagna at The Creameries
Mike Thomas, head chef at The Creameries has brought exquisite Southern European flavours to the Chorlton fine-dining restaurant. He has a huge focus on locality and seasonality and his menu features snacks, fresh seasonal salads, homemade pastas and foccacia, alongside delicious puddings and, on Sundays, a very special Al Forno menu. As the food is hyper seasonal, dishes can change instantly, but we can’t recommend the Fazzoletti with walnut sauce enough if it’s still on the menu during your visit!
Campagna at the Creameries, 406 Wilbraham Rd, Manchester M21 0SD
Back in 2016, Tre Ciccio swung open its doors for the very first time in Manchester’s trendy indie neighbourhood of Altrincham. Its owners drew inspiration from an unforgettable experience they had in the Campania region of Italy, which saw them spend an evening sitting alongside the dramatic coastline at the popular La Terrazza restaurant. On returning to the bleak streets of the city, Tre Ciccio was born and the restaurant has been a huge hit ever since. Specialising mainly in Neapolitan pizza and large roast chicken platters, Tre Ciccio has also recently introduced a bottomless booze and pizza offer every Monday at its Ramsbottom restaurant for £35 per person!
Tre Ciccio, 4a Moss Ln, Altrincham WA14 1BA
Tre Ciccio, 16-18 Market Pl, Ramsbottom, Bury BL0 9HT
The Pasta Factory
Situated just next to Shudehill bus station in the heart of the city, The Pasta Factory is an Italian restaurant specialising in the art of fresh pasta. With a focus on family and a social dining culture throughout the venue, the restaurant takes dining back to basics, with fresh, local ingredients and a welcoming, relaxed vibe throughout. We’d recommend trying the Tagliatella Al Pesto Di Basilco, Patate E Fagiolini, which comes with tagliatelle, homemade pesto, roasted potatoes and green beans. The restaurant also has a rotating specials menu, which always offers something unique and unbelievably tasty to try, too!
The Pasta Factory, 77 Shudehill, Manchester M4 4AN
Just a stone’s throw away from The Pasta Factory you’ll find Ciaooo, a traditional Italian hangout that has a strict focus on pizza. The restaurant has a very low maintenance ambience, making it a laid back space to grab some top quality Italian grub – and its menu is not one to disappoint. It has a great range of meat, veggie and vegan options, with the Contadina being one of our absolute favourites – Neapolitan-style dough topped with San Marzano DOP tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, artichokes, red onions, courgettes, extra virgin olive oil and provola cheese.
Ciaooo, 62-64 Swan St, Manchester M4 5JU
I Knead Pizza & The Burbs
I Knead Pizza has sites in both Reddish and Hatch and serves a delectable range of hand pulled dough! Founded by pals Paul and Mike, their restaurant’s are always full of happy customers chowing down on delights such as their Mozzarella & Green Pesto Bites and pizzas topped with a range of wonderful flavours including Ham, Pepperoni, Pesto, Salami, Jalapeno and Mushroom. The restaurant has also recently announced a new suburban restaurant that will bring with it delicious Italian and British Small Plates, as well as traditional Neapolitan Pizza.
I Knead Pizza
52 Gorton Rd, Reddish, Stockport SK5 6AH
Hatch, 103 Oxford Rd, Manchester M1 7ED
The lockdown project of chef Ornella, this Denton deli opened its doors a couple of weeks back with a focus on pasta, focaccia and bread. Her dishes are a colour palette of flavours, with plates such as the Mushroom Ravioli with creamy truffle sauce and Creamy Pork Sausage Pappardelle leading the way. You can also pick up bakes, pastries and classic Italian desserts to eat in or takeaway from the deli, which is definitely worth travelling to if you don’t live close!
Ornella’s Kitchen, 10 Manchester Rd, Denton, Manchester M34 3LE
The family-run Italian business that’s inspired by a mother’s inspirational kitchen in Naples, Salvi’s is a place that champions Italian produce and brings a taste of heaven to your home. You’ll find all of the greatest Italian ingredients at the Corn Exchange deli, including cured meats, oils, cheeses and easy-to-prepare meals that will have you transformed into a fully-fledged Italian chef in no time. You can also enjoy a meal in the Corn Exchange site, as well as Salvi’s venues in Northern and a brand-spanking new space at Deansgate Square.
Salvi’s Mozzarella Bar, 1, The Corn Exchange, Corporation St, Manchester M4 3TR
Salvi’s Cucina Italiana, Basil Chambers, 9 Nicholas Croft, Manchester M4 1EY
Salvi’s Deansgate Square, Owen St., Manchester M15 4TQ
Lupo Caffè Italiano
Winner or nominee for pretty much every single award that we’ve ever had in the city, it wouldn’t surprise me if you told me that Lupo had won an Oscar, or indeed a Nobel Peace Prize – purely for the quality of their produce alone. Now based in Prestwich, Lupo is the quintessential Italian cafe experience, with superb coffee, outstanding baked goods, cannolo, pizzas, pasta, cakes – everything you can think of really, all done exceptionally well indeed. Well worth the trip up to the Mountheath Trading Estate, you won’t leave empty handed (or hungry).
Lupo, Trading Estate, Unit 65 Ardent Way Mountheath, Manchester M25 9WE
I told myself that I wouldn’t populate this list with a ton of pizza places, because, although they are definitely Italian in spirit, to qualify as a proper Italian restaurant (in my eyes at least) then you’ve got to offer more than just pizza. But then I thought – how could I NOT include Rudy’s in this list? The 8th Best Pizza in the World with five sites across the city? And they do actually offer up some excellent Italian starters and desserts and they even do Campari Soda bottles, so yes – they’re Italian and they’re bloody brilliant.
Again, another pizza joint, and this time – pizza is pretty much all that they do. But the three lads that run this pizzeria from Edgworth Cricket Club are all cousins and of Italian descent – so you’re getting the real deal here for sure. Brought up with a passion for Italian food by their ‘Nonno’ who came over from Italy in the 60’s, Cugini’s started off cooking their amazing wood-fired Neapolitan pies from their auntie’s back yard, but have since upgraded to the local cricket club.
Cugini Pizza, Edgworth Cricket Club, Bolton Rd, Bolton BL7 0AP
Intimate, stunningly adorned neighbourhood eateries in poshest Cheshire, Cibo is often confused with the city centre establishments that share its name. This is an altogether different kind of experience though; wonderfully authentic and oozing charisma and atmosphere, it’s no wonder these restaurants are frequented by celebrities and footballers pretty much on a daily basis. Hale has recently extended and improved its outdoor space too – it’s now even more impressive and provides the perfect spot for a long Aperol in the sun.
6-10 Victoria Rd, Hale, Altrincham WA15 9AF
26-28 Green Ln, Wilmslow SK9 1LD
First and foremost, CIBUS is a place to enjoy freshly baked plates of Neapolitan pizza. The Levenshulme-based restaurant comes highly recommended offering a traditional taste of seasonal Italian flavours, which get baked into favourites such as the 4 Stagioni, a pizza topped with tomato, mozzarella, ham, mushroom, artichoke and leccino olives. The restaurant also serves a few pasta dishes that are full of flavour, as well as a Sunday menu, which consists of Chicken, Beef, Porchette, Lamb or a Vegetarian option with all the trimmings!
CIBUS Pizza, 847 – 849 Stockport Rd, Levenshulme, Manchester M19 3PW
Lazy Tony’s Lasagneria
You can’t get more Italian than a huge slab of Lasagne, and in this respect – Lazy Tony’s do the best. By far. They offer up not just the traditional lasagne, but also Mac n Cheese, Subs, Loaded Fries and a list of sumptuous sides to pair with each dish. There’s also Mozzarella Sticks and arguably the Best Tiramisu in the entire world/country/city. You can find them in the basement of Alvarium in the Northern Quarter.
Lazy Tony’s, 8 Dorsey St, Manchester M4 1LU
A big Chorlton favourite, Double Zero Pizzeria is the home of independent, handmade, authentic pizza complete with its signature chewy crusts. The restaurant makes its dough on site using only four ingredients and ferments the base for a full 48 hours before popping it in its wood-fired ovens for less than 90 seconds! If you make the trip, treat yourself to the Bianca Neve, which is topped with Truffle oil, Portobello Mushrooms and Mozzarella.
Double Zero, 368 Barlow Moor Rd, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester M21 8AZ
This Heaton Moor open plan eatery has everything you need from an Italian restaurant. A covered space for alfresco dining, friendly service and an exciting buzz makes it a must visit, alongside its menus of delicious food and drink. There’s natural wines from local producers that can be paired with the restaurants Sardinian take on Italian food that features dishes such as the Malloreddus Alla Salsiccia, a stand-out pasta main that comes with Tuscan fennel sausage, extra virgin olive oil, tomato sauce and Tuscan parmesan.
Leoni’s, 110 Heaton Moor Rd, Stockport SK4 4NZ
With two sites in the city centre, (and not to be confused with Cibo in Hale), CIBO has become a favourite spot for those looking for a taste of the Mediterranean coastline. The menu transcends dishes and occasions, with a bottomless brunch, lunch and a la carte dining menu all on offer, alongside an extensive cocktail list featuring all of the thirst-quenching favourites. If we were to recommend anything, though, it would have to be the Ravioli Aragosta – a dish that combines homemade lobster ravioli with fresh chilli in a lobster bisque – that has to be washed down with a traditional Aperol Spritz.
3-11 Liverpool Rd, Manchester M3 4NW
Unit 4, Great Northern Warehouse, Manchester M3 4EN
Another long-standing Manchester institution, Don Giovanni sits atop of Oxford Road, serving some of the very best Italian dishes to the folk of the city. The multi-award winning restaurant has garnered this badge for a reason, as its menu is full of outstanding dishes featuring everything from freshly caught fish to smoked, local steaks and an incredible line-up of pasta and risotto. I’m also going to give the restaurant’s Truffle and Parmesan fries a shout out, too, as they’re in a league of their own.
Don Giovanni, 1-2, Peter House, 1 Oxford St, Manchester M1 5AN
Located down at Hatch on Oxford Road, T’Arricrii specialise in that most beautiful of Sicilian creations – arancini. Rice stuffed with an endless choice of fillings, coated in breadcrumbs and then deep fried – arancini are amazing, and the ones at T’Arricrii are nigh on unbeatable. They also offer up a pretty diverse selection of antipasti and aperitivi, too, including Crostinis, Croquettes and loaded Fritto potatoes. Oh, and paninis and desserts, including Cannolo (of course).
T’Arricrii, Hatch, 103 Oxford Rd, Manchester M1 7ED
Established way back in 1989, Valentino’s is a family-run restaurant in the heart of Heaton Moor. It has a very loyal fanbase, becoming one of the most popular restaurants in the area over the years, and constantly cited as a must visit to those that have never experienced its splendour. Its menu is great and has something for everyone, from traditional pizza and pasta recipes, to bigger dishes featuring steak, chicken and fish. The restaurant is open Thursday to Sunday and also offers a collection service for you to enjoy its dishes from home.
Valentino’s, 121 Heaton Moor Rd, Heaton Moor, Stockport SK4 4HY
Another long-standing restaurant with a special place in the heart of its community, Swinton’s Puccini’s has been offering authentic Italian food and wine for 40 years. It’s a true hidden gem, and not much will beat its Tortellini Dolce Latte, comforting little parcels of pasta filled with spinach and ricotta cheese with a creamy dolce latte sauce.
Puccini’s, 171-175 Chorley Rd, Swinton, Manchester M27 4AE
This one’s a bit further out of the city, but if you’re up for making the trip it’s well worth it! Primo’s genuine Italian food serves up everything from your traditional classics including a Spaghetti Carbonara and a not-to-be-messed-with Margherita, alongside some different dishes such as the Guazzetto – a traditional Amalfitan fish stew with sea bass, monkfish, king prawns, squid and mussels served with croutons. It also serves an array of Apertivo Italiano cocktails, with a Negroni never too far from your sight!
Primo Restaurant, Market Approach, 1 Gerard St, Ashton-in-Makerfield, Wigan WN4 9AL
With a focus on finely sourced ingredients and local produce, The Italian in Glossop offers a warm and friendly atmosphere for a get together with friends and family. You can’t go wrong with a bit of Cannelloni, and The Italian serves up a comforting bowl of the pasta tubes filled with meat and spinach and topped with bechamel, mozzarella and parmesan. We’d also recommend fishing off your meal with a slab of its homemade Tiramisu, doused in lashings of rum.
The Italian, 110-112 High St W, Glossop SK13 8BB
With two locations in Didsbury and Wilmslow, Casa Italia is much more than an Italian restaurant. The venues provide guests with traditional Italian groceries from authentic suppliers that are imported directly from the country. You’ll find a stunning selection of goods that will have you inspired to transform your kitchen into a Southern European sanctuary, from fresh pasta to cooking sauces and confectionery which will no doubt wow your guests.
688-690 Wilmslow Rd, Didsbury, Manchester M20 2DN
12 Alderley Rd, Wilmslow SK9 1JX
Paradiso Authentic Italian
Paradiso offers handmade Italian desserts, including a banging Tiramisu – plus a selection of other delicious Italian goodies, such as cannoli and cakes. The main focus here is the Tiramisu though, and they even offer up a few different variations of the classic, including a pistachio variant and a Biscoff one – which I’d consider to be quite possibly the greatest dessert ever made. You can catch them at various markets and pop-ups around the city – just give them a follow to find out where they’re going to be next.
Although not strictly Italian, The Sparrows is in fact more of a ‘European’ restaurant, offering up a diverse choice of dishes from Russian Pelimeni to Polish Pierogi, and even Japanese Sake for some reason. They offer up a fantastic menu of fresh pastas and ravioli too though, which are truly excellent – easily some of the best in the city. Everyone raves about this place, and there’s a reason for that – it’s absolutely one of the best restaurants in the city at the moment – and their Italian offering is up there with the very best.
The Sparrows, 16 Red Bank, Cheetham Hill, Manchester M4 4HF
No self-respecting list of Italian restaurants would be complete without Piccolino’s surely? You’ll find a Piccolino all over the region, and they’re encroaching on ‘chain’ territory somewhat, but they’re still massively popular and a great choice when looking for top-quality Italian dishes. They offer up pretty much everything you could ever desire in here, pasta, pizza, antipasti, wines, coffee, desserts – if it’s not here, then it’s not Italian. Their Caffe Grande on Albert Square is stunning too.
L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele
Considered by many to be “The Best Pizza in the World” – L’Antica Pizzeria Da Michele arrived on King Street at the tail end of 2021 and has certainly impressed with their doughy Neapolitan beauties. The one in Naples has queues outside it pretty much all of the time, so don’t worry about that – not when you’ve got the same high-end Italian pies right on your doorstep.
L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele, 53 King St, Manchester M2 4LQ